In May 2017, local artists were honoured to have Pastel Society of Australia‘s Master Pastellist Christine Clarke visit Darwin to present two workshops at DVAA. The first workshop was Dynamics of Drawing followed by the Pastel Portraits Workshop.

Dynamics of Drawing

During the Dynamics of Drawing Workshop Chris covered observation, tone, line, shape, contour drawing and composition. Each topic built on and included the previous topic. Chris explained the importance of observation along with hand and eye co-ordination to produce a good drawing. She covered how best to hold a pencil, angles, straight lines and curves and reminded everyone that pencil mileage is also important in learning how to draw. The effects of light and shadow falling on objects was explained as well as the benefits of using a grey scale with black at one end, white at the other and the various shades of grey in between.

Chris used figures and animals as her examples for explaining the use of line work in drawing and how drawing strokes give expression to paintings. She explained the importance of creating good shapes and silhouettes to make good drawings and the use of lost edges all working together to produce interesting drawings.

Chris demonstrated how contour drawing is a good way of learning how to really look at a subject, as it demands concentration. It describes all three dimensions: length, width and depth as it accentuates the peaks and troughs within the form. She also covered the various aspects to consider when deciding on the composition of a drawing. This comprised size and shape, vertical or horizontal orientation, focal point and ways to simplify and strengthen a composition including materials and techniques.

Pastel Portraits

The Pastel Portraits Workshop demonstrated transposing portraits from photos to pastel paper using a proportional divider to achieve better accuracy. Chris explained locating the features on the head, eyes, nose, mouth and ears relative to other features and the effects of the head being tilted up or down.  She also covered common errors in drawing the head because of the way the back of the head is drawn.

A portrait of a young woman was used by Chris as her demonstration and also as an exercise for everyone to practice on.  Day 2 saw everyone use the knowledge and skills imparted by Chris to begin a portrait of their own choice.

DVAA thanks Helena Gibbons for organising this workshop and writing this article.